New favourite for the Celtic job, Ange Postecoglou, has been hailed by Pep Guardiola and Brendan Rodgers, swears by his all-out attacking style of play and has ‘delivered wherever he has been’.
But Celtic fans will be forgiven for reacting like talkSPORT host Alan Brazil to news of his possible appointment, upon hearing he does not have the right coaching qualifications to hold a job in Europe.
Postecoglou, 55, is expected to be named the next Celtic manager after a deal for first choice Eddie Howe collapsed, with talks breaking down last week.
News of the club’s move for Postecoglou – currently in charge at Japanese club Yokohama F. Marinos – has not gone down well with supporters, who were hoping for the appointment of an established coach to lead their rebuild after last season’s disaster under Neil Lennon.
There are also concerns over reports he may not hold the necessary qualifications to take up the post.
UEFA require any manager in the top flight of a European league to hold A and B coaching licenses and for a coach to at least begin the most advance course – the UEFA Pro license.
It is claimed Postecoglou does not hold them and latest reports from Scotland claim Celtic have applied for an exemption with UEFA for the coach to be given the green light to take over.
A ‘recognition of competence procedure’ can be applied for, with the Hoops confident Postecoglou’s 25 years in management, which includes numerous trophies in Australia and Japan and success with the Australia national team, will see him granted an exemption.
talkSPORT has been told the Parkhead faithful should be excited about the Australian’s possible move to Glasgow, but that was of no comfort to Celtic supporter, former Scotland striker and talkSPORT host, Mr Brazil.
Relaying the latest news to talkSPORT Breakfast listeners on Thursday, He said: “I’m not sure I want to read this out, to be honest. Is this a wind-up?
“No pro license? Oh, this had got to be a wind-up, no! Yokohama? They make motorcycles!
“Ange Postecoglou? Dear, oh dear. He’ll be a great manager… where do they come up with these guys?”
“Honestly, I shouldn’t wallow in your despair,” replied Rangers legend Ally McCoist with a cheeky grin, “but I’m loving every minute of it, it’s fantastic!
“He’s not bad actually, the guy is not bad. He’s one of Australia’s top coaches.”
Ally was not wrong and, actually, there are plenty of reasons Celtic fans should be excited about the prospect of Australia’s number one football coach getting his first big break in European football.
Ange Postecoglou’s CV
South Melbourne – 1999-2000: NSL Premiership, NSL Championship x2, Oceania Club Championship
Australia U17 – 2000-2005: OFC U-17 Championship x3
Australia U20 – 2000-2007: OFC U-20 Championship x3, AFF U-19 Youth Championship
Panachaiki – 2008
Brisbane Roar – 2009-2012: A-League Premiership, A-League Championship x2, Longest undefeated streak in Australian sporting history: 36 games (2011–12)
Melbourne Victory – 2012-2013
Australia – 2013-2017: AFC Asian Cup: 2015
Yokohama F. Marinos – 2018-current: J1 League
Individual awards: National Soccer League Coach of the Year, Australian PFA Manager of the Year, A-League Coach of the Year, Australian PFA Manager of the Decade, AFC Coach of the Year
After all, former Celtic manager Rodgers is a big fan.
Australian football writer Tom Smithies joined talkSPORT to bring us all the background on the little-known coach.
Postecoglou has lifted the J-League title during his three years in charge of City Group-owned Japanese side Yokohama F. Marinos, adding to his A-League title in charge of Brisbane Roar, Asian Cup victory as manager of the Australia national team as well as guiding the Socceroos to the 2018 World Cup.
And he said the experienced coach be a ‘fascinating’ appointment if the Celtic move goes ahead.
“If there’s one word I’d use to describe him, it would be uncompromising,” Smithies said on Tuesday’s White and Jordan.
“He’s a fascinating character, very successful but also very uncompromising. He was scarred by an experience early in his career and ever since then he’s done it his way.
“He plays a very proactive, very attacking style of football, he has absolute belief in his own methods, absolute belief in his ability to make his players play in that way and he’s delivered wherever he has been given time.
“He’s won championships in Australia, he won the Asian Cup with Australia – our equivalent of the Euros – and then he qualified for a World Cup and then walked away before the World Cup began because he decided he didn’t have the support of the Australian football public, he thought they didn’t appreciate his methods.
“He then went to Japan and has won the J-League playing this fantastic style of football.
“They played a friendly against Manchester City last year and he got absolutely rave review from Pep Guardiola about the way he was playing.”
Rodgers was also highly complimentary of Postecoglou after facing his Melbourne Victory side during the Northern Irishman’s career as Liverpool manager.
After a pre-season friendly in Australia, the current Leicester City and former Celtic boss said: “Their coach is outstanding. I’ve had a couple of chats with him, and to see his team play, he’s very similar to myself and he believes the game should be played in a certain way.
“You can see the team is very well coached, so we knew it was going to be a tough game for us.”
Smithies added: “If he moves to Celtic, it will be entertaining for good reasons and bad.
“He doesn’t love criticism, he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder about Australians being recognised and thinks if he’s been coaching a European team he’d get more kudos.
“But equally, he’s a very civilised guy, he’s not a screamer and a shouter, he likes to have a chat and will always engage.
“I’ve written critical things about him in the past and we’ve always had a good engagement afterwards.
“But he will now bow to anybody, he will do things his way and it doesn’t matter if he’s not getting results, he won’t change his style of play.
“We all know the cauldron he’ll be going into if he gets the job at Celtic, if results don’t come quickly he won’t change, but it’ll be fascinating to see how much Celtic will hold their nerve – there are already question marks from the Celtic faithful over his appointment.
“I think he deserves this chance. He’s a terrific thinker about the game.
“Whether Celtic are prepared to give him the time it might take for his methods to be implemented in that team, that’s a different question.”